Make A Playdough Beetle

Playdough is one of my favourite go-to activities! My kids love some time with playdough – its calming, fun, and can be used for almost any area of learning. Here’s one of the activities we did with our playdough last autumn.

Minibeasts

T had been learning about mini beasts at home. On our way home from the park one day, she suddenly spotted a female stag beetle crawling along the pavement! Neither of us had seen one before so we stopped for a while to watch it. It soon became apparent that this particular beetle had already gone to the big bug hotel in the sky, but not one to miss an opportunity, I wrapped it in a large leaf so we could take it home and get a closer look under the magnifying glass!

Creating with playdough

T was really interested in the beetle, and since it showed no signs of rot or decay, we kept it for a good while! She was able to look really closely at it’s different parts and see for herself things that we had learned about from pictures.

a stag beetle on a tray with playdough, a magnifying glass, and a bowl containing matchsticks, buttons, google eyes, pipe cleaners and lolly sticks.

I decided to put out some loose parts along with some playdough, the stag beetle and a magnifying glass as an invitation to create a playdough beetle!

T observed the beetle really closely, noting the line down the centre of the abdomen where its wings were tucked away, and adding jewels because she wanted her beetle to be shiny just like the real thing!

The finished beetle. Matchsticks have been used for antennae and legs, and jewels added to the abdomen.

I understand that not everyone would willingly bring dead beetles in to their home, even in the name of science! And even if you are willing, you might not stumble across one! So if you haven’t got a dead beetle to hand, try putting out a variety of pictures or even toy beetles for your child to get inspiration from!

What she is learning

  • Scientific observation and inquiry
  • Subject specific language such as abdomen, thorax and antennae
  • Creativity – designing with a purpose in mind
a stag beetle on a tray with playdough, a magnifying glass, and a bowl containing matchsticks, buttons, google eyes, pipe cleaners and lolly sticks.Image is overlaid with post title and brand logo.

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